Colin Marston - 200220032004 Computer Music

Colin Marston is a powerhouse of talent: brilliant bass and Warr Guitar player, composer, and producer/engineer at his own Menegroth Studio.  But before he started making waves as a performer and producer, he apparently created this small handful of untitled computer-music tracks, very briefly available from the now-defunct Arctopus website as 200220032004.

It's not much to look at: sticker on a plastic sleeve, plain CDR, five tracks.  There really isn't any information regarding the origin of these pieces, but I assume they were made during Marston's time at New York University taking composition lessons with Nick Didkovsky of Doctor Nerve fame.  I can't get the necessary "JSyn Plugin" to work on my computer, but perhaps someone else can confirm a relationship between this recording and this "Groove-o-noiseics" link?

These are really interesting untitled works.  Track 3 reminds me the most of Behold...the Arctopus compositionally and rhythmically, and it also reminds me a bit of Conlon Nancarrow's player piano studies, though without the metric-modulation-of-tempo concept.  Track 5 has long passages that are reminiscent of some of the quieter moments in Infidel?Castro! works, or maybe even Byla, if you can forgive the inorganic tonal qualities.  Track 4 is the closest to a rock/industrial arrangement, made with manipulations of one basic rhythm/riff and one overall melodic sequence/fragment.  Track 2 is the most textural or ambient of these compositions, and track 1 is a short but compelling landmine of shifting rhythmic ideas. It's great to hear Marston's compositional approach translated through computer composition.

While I'm thinking about it: around the same time this was briefly available, Marston's Indiricothere solo album was also offered with handmade cloth album art/patch stuff in a plastic sleeve.  This is before it was released through Gilead Media as an LP+CD thing.  I kind of wish I'd gotten an LP, but this early self-release art was pretty cool:

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